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Special Notice on Overtime for Acute Care Employers

Dear Health Care Bargaining Unit members,

As a result of your employer’s recent communication (see the IWK message below) regarding overtime, the NSGEU wants to clarify that this change in practice for the Health Care bargaining unit was not agreed to in bargaining. The employer has decided to interpret the language around “hours worked” differently. The NSGEU will pursue this issue through the policy grievance process.

The Employer has served notice it intends to apply the same interpretation to the Nursing, Administrative Professional and Support Services bargaining units.

We will update the membership once we have additional information on this matter.

Original Message from IWK:

Special Notice Regarding Overtime

During bargaining, both IWK and NSHA provided notice to the Council of Unions regarding a change to how overtime will be paid. Effective October 28, 2018, and in keeping with the language in the collective agreements, overtime will now be paid based on hours actually worked, and not on hours paid as was the practice. This applies to Health Care and Health Administrative Professional Bargaining Unit employees until new collective agreements are in place for Nursing and Support later this year.

What does this change mean?If in a bi-weekly pay period, you do not work up to full time hours due to vacation, sick leave, holiday, or any other time off paid or unpaid, any additional relief shift you work in addition to these hours will be paid at straight time. For greater clarification, in order to be eligible for overtime pay, you will have to work the required amount of bi-weekly hours (70 or 75 hours depending on your bargaining unit.) For example, if you took a vacation day, but picked up a relief shift in the same pay period, the relief shift will be paid at straight time because you didn’t work beyond full time hours and therefore are not eligible for the overtime rate. If you picked up two relief shifts, you would be paid overtime for the second one as you are over the full time hour maximum.

Another example is if you picked up a relief shift and at the time you accepted it, it would be considered overtime, but then are absent from shift at the end of that pay period, the relief shift will be paid at straight time as you are no longer working full time hours. This also applies for any “pre-booked” overtime shifts. At the time it is offered to you, it may be considered overtime, but again, if you subsequently do not work up to full time hours within that pay period the shift will be paid at straight time. As per the collective agreement, with any shifts accepted there is an obligation to work.

With this change to the application of overtime, you will need to be aware of the bi-weekly pay periods and keep track of your absences in order for you to know when you are eligible for overtime pay. As per our normal process, you still must inform the person offering you a relief shift, if you are in an overtime situation as the person calling you with relief shifts will not know if you have worked your full bi-weekly schedule.

Please note – there will be no impact on shift swapping or to overtime compensation for shift extensions (i.e. working beyond your scheduled shift).

2 Responses to Special Notice on Overtime for Acute Care Employers

  1. Wendy October 19, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

    And Nova Scotia wonders why they can’t retain their nurses! Unbelievable. I came from BC where I had 300hrs vacation and when I worked anything other than a scheduled full time shift it was OT and rightly so. Full time hours includes sick time and vacation and stat holidays!

  2. Martin Leonard October 19, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

    This is getting out of hand. We are working short a lot of the time anyway and now we will be working more under staffed. When will they get it through their heads that they are making it more and more difficult for Nurses to stay working here in this province. I’ve just about had it with this province and the health care field. I’ve been a LPN for 15 plus years here in this province and the only thing that is holding me back from leaving is my pension. I’m sure many others feel the same way as I do. It’s time for us to take a stand and say enough is enough.

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